Now that The Vampire Diaries' Elena Gilbert has made her first kill as a vampire, will she be hungry for more? Or will she continue to loathe the new predator she has become?
"The consequences of that first kill are pretty profound," executive producer Julie Plec told reporters at a screening of the episode. "She... literally and metaphorically killed her hope without realizing it [and she'll] learn that killing a hunter comes with a price ... that takes her to some dark, dark places."
So does Connor's death signal the end of a possible cure for Elena? What exactly does Jeremy's hand mark mean? And how does Professor Shane fit into this new mythology and the future of Mystic Falls' heroes? Plec and writer Michael Narducci answer these questions and more!
When did you know Connor would be Elena's first kill?
Michael Narducci: We talked in April ... and we kind of knew it would be in [Episode] 5 and it would be Connor. I've been on the show awhile and something I struggle with is that I want Elena to do more things, I want her to not be a damsel in distress and I want her to go out and protect her brother. So we thought if Jeremy is in jeopardy and if Matt, her high school sweetheart, is in jeopardy what is Elena going to do? I really loved when she turns to Damon and says, "I'm a monster too," and she is now; she's dangerous. I don't think she [went] into those tunnels with the intention of killing Connor, I think she [went] in those tunnels with the intention of saying, "Stay the hell away from my family!" But Connor is ready to kill a vampire at any moment and when he stakes her, she loses it. Vampires do go off and Elena is one of them so we have to show that dark side too of what it is to be a vampire.
What will the repercussions of the kill be?
Julie Plec: Well, just in the shadow of giving the first glimpse of hope for Elena's predicament [i.e. the cure] she herself was the one that literally and metaphorically killed her hope without realizing it. So the consequences of that first kill are pretty profound. We [also] learn for the first time that killing a hunter comes with a price and there's a weird Dostoyevsky consequence of it all that takes her to some dark, dark places.
What does this possible cure mean?
Plec: It's going to make our characters ask questions about themselves, what they want and what would they do in order to get it ... And who would go to great lengths to make sure it ultimately didn't fall into the wrong hands?
Tell us about Jeremy's new "destiny" as a hunter.
Plec: Right now it's just the beginning of being awakened. Connor had told him he was a potential and so this is a hint that perhaps Connor was speaking the truth. This mark and what it means and where it leads and what Jeremy will need to do to complete it is an origin story [that will be] told to its end.
What is Professor Shane's deal?
Plec: Professor Shane starts to cross paths with our group next week with some answers, but whether they're legit or not remains to be seen. [As for Bonnie], there's this mentor that's appearing in her life just as she's in her own darkest place where she feels like she's lost connection to her magic. Here's this very wise and connected professor saying to her, "Hey let me teach you how to get back in touch with who you really are," so there's an allure to that. But as we've seen, he does have an alternate agenda he's hiding. We just don't know if it's in her best interest or not.
What is April's purpose?
Plec: April for us is a fun human folly and a reminder that this town exists and there are people in this town that know nothing and can get caught up in it in the same way Elena and her friends did in Season 1. So it's a nice fresh set of eyes. April is also our vessel to start getting answers to that really surprising twist at the end of the first episode. That mystery has yet to be solved, and she will be part of putting the pieces together.
Narducci: April is a marker to see how far [Elena] has gone from when she was human. You look at April and that's kind of how Elena was in Season 1, and Elena is absolutely not there anymore so it's kind of shocking to hold that mirror up.
What is Tyler's mission moving forward?
Narducci: Tyler is someone who beat the sire bond and now he's free and looks around at all these other hybrids that Klaus is using to do whatever and as a hero would say, "This is wrong I should do something about it." Haley is someone who helps him act on that heroic desire.
Plec: Tyler is going to insight a revolution.
The journals returned! (Which we teased two months ago.) Why bring them back now?
Plec: It is the title of the show so we always knew we wanted it to exist out there in the ether. What we've said since Season 1 is that a diary is your most personal place to give your most personal messages. When you're in a functional relationship and feel like you have something to share, you can share it with a friend or a lover and Elena has always had that. [But] right now she feels more lost and alone than she ever has and it felt like the right time for her to need to have a voice for that because she doesn't feel like she can admit this to her friends and loved ones that she hates who she's become. So it felt like the right time. It's not going to be part of the week-to-week format by any means. We'll visit it at times when it feels like they need to have a private thought that we need to be invited into moreso than it being part of the narrative every day.
OK, when are Katherine and Elijah coming back, and is this the last we've seen of Connor?
Plec: We have not seen the last of [Katherine] and believe it or not we have not seen completely totally the last of Connor. We're talking Episode 16 and 17 and Elijah's name is all over the board. The scripts aren't written yet but that's our game plan, to have him come in as we get closer to the last chapter of the year. I do believe Nathaniel Buzolic (Kol) has been spotted tweeting from Atlanta [but] I wouldn't attach the word "reunion" to it.
What did you think of the episode? How do you think Elena will change from her first kill?
Additional reporting by Natalie Abrams